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Individual habits, not technological innovations have the biggest impact on fighting the climate crisis

The third part of the 2020-2021 EIB Climate Survey finds that people around the world have different ideas of how best to tackle the climate crisis. The results focus on what actions people believe can help the shift to a green economy. According to 39 per cent of Europeans, the best way to fight climate change is through a radical change in our individual habits (consumption, transport and many more), while 29 per cent believe mostly in technological innovations. China and the US marked the latter also in the first place.

The point of views differs within Europe as well. For instance, people in Portugal (51 per cent) and Slovakia (44 per cent) believe in radical behaviour changes as a priority, but on the other hand, citizens in the Nordic and Baltic countries have more confidence in technological innovation (Sweden 40 per cent, Finland 38 per cent, Estonia 36 per cent and Latvia and Lithuania 37 per cent).

The survey also says that as a solution, 36 per cent of Europeans and Americans would like to expand teleworking to reduce commuting and fight climate change. Or another option can be more subsidies for electric cars – think 40 per cent of Europeans and 37 per cent of Americans.

In the case of urban mobility, most of the respondents – 55 per cent of Europeans, 54 per cent of Chinese and 47 per cent of Americans – identify the efficiency of public transport as a top priority.

“People across Europe are sending us an encouraging message,” said Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President. “They firmly believe in the power of their individual behaviour to address the climate crisis. Meanwhile, a strong majority of Europeans believe that climate action must take social inequalities into account in order to be successful – no one should be left behind in the green transition. This is crucial.”

“As part of our transformation into the EU climate bank, it is our role to help individuals take action by financing sustainable mobility services and circular economy solutions,” he added. “In addition, our Climate Survey shows that people believe in technological innovation to fight climate change.”

Another interesting point is about fossil fuels. Forty-eight per cent of Europeans and 45 per cent of Americans believe that the top reason for reducing fossil fuel use is that the world’s reserves will soon be depleted, or to become more independent from other countries’ resources, not because they are responsible for a massive amount of CO2 emission. Just 24 per cent of the people say that the main reason for reducing fossil fuel use is to reduce local pollution. In the case of the big fossil fuel-dependent China, the rate differs a bit, one-third of the Chinese people believe that reducing fossil fuels is an opportunity to reduce pollution.

All nations agreed that energy is a priority sector and an increase in the use of renewable energy sources is a must: 49 per cent of Europeans and Chinese and 47 per cent of Americans have the same opinion. Within the EU the main nations who believe in the primacy of renewables are Poland (67 per cent), Spain (60 per cent), Greece and Italy (59 per cent) and Portugal and Hungary (58 per cent).

“At the EIB, we have been supporting the green transition for many years, but much remains to be done,” continued the EIB Vice President. “We need to drastically scale up and accelerate our efforts and explore different, innovative and disruptive solutions to help people move towards a more sustainable future. This is what we are committed to doing through our new Climate Bank Roadmap underpinning the European Green Deal.”

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